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Although William James’ writings on instinct and emotion and Charles Darwin’s writings on emotional expression were among the first modern scientific accounts of human emotion, these writings did not constitute “adaptationist” approaches to emotion in the sense that evolutionary psychologists use that term today. The first modern evolutionary accounts of human emotion would have to wait almost another century for evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers’s (Q Rev Biol 46:35–57, 1971) groundbreaking paper on reciprocal altruism in which he speculated about the evolutionary functions of moral sentiments, such as guilt and gratitude. Almost a half century after Trivers’s writings on emotion, sophisticated evolutionary accounts are more common and new empirical findings on the evolutionary functions of emotion appear almost every year (for reviews, see Cosmides and Tooby, Handbook of emotions, Guilford, New York, pp. 91–115, 2000; Ketelaar, Evolutionary psychology, public policy and personal decisions, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, pp. 145–168, 2004, Social psychology and economics. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, pp. 97–116, 2006; Ketelaar and Clore, Personality, emotion, and cognitive science, Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 355–396, 1997; Nesse, Understanding depression: a translational approach, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009, pp. 17–36; Nesse and Ellsworth, Am Psychol 64:129–139, 2009; Tooby and Cosmides, Handbook of emotions, Guilford, New York, pp. 114–137, 2008). This chapter provides an historical review of evolutionary thinking on emotion from Charles Darwin and William James to Robert Trivers and Randy Nesse, along with a summary of promising areas of future research into the evolutionary functions of emotion.
Evolutionary Perspectives on Social Psychology
Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Lisa L. M. Welling, and Todd K. Shackelford
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